Climate & Energy

Yielding the moral high ground: Part II

Republicans have every reason to share ownership of the climate issue

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. In Part I, we saw how conservatives were turning their backs on the moral issue of our time -- global warming. Here we'll examine the many reasons conservatives should share ownership of this issue. Global warming and its solutions involve issues that are important to conservatives, progressives, Independents and even political agnostics. For example: National security: "Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national security challenges for the United States," 11 retired admirals and generals concluded in a security analysis last April. "The increasing risks from climate change should be addressed now because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay." Jobs: The global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is arguably the biggest entrepreneurial opportunity the United States has known. Billions of the world's people need access to clean energy, a market of unprecedented scale. Here in the United States, according to an analysis by the Management Information Services in Washington, D.C., energy efficiency and renewable energy can create 40 million jobs by mid-century, at skill levels stretching from entry level to the highly technical.

‘Stop using so much oil’

A great little story today in Tom Rick's Inbox, from the Washington Post's military correspondent:

Yielding the moral high ground: Part I

Republican candidates are keeping their distance from climate change

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. In recent years, conservatives have mastered the art of hijacking morality. They have positioned themselves as the champions of family values, faith and good old-fashioned patriotism. But on what some regard as the moral issue of our time, the party's presidential candidates are turning their backs. That issue is global warming. Al Gore is not the only prominent leader who considers climate change a moral issue. Three years ago, the National Association of Evangelicals issued its "Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility." It reads in part: We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part. Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation. At about the same time, Christianity Today, an influential evangelical magazine, opined that "Christians should make it clear to governments and businesses that we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and support steps towards changes that protect our environment." The magazine endorsed the bipartisan global warming bill co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I/D CT) and John McCain (R-AZ). Yet, the other Republican presidential candidates are keeping their distance from the issue as though it is their weird Aunt Ethel with halitosis.

The renewable Janus

Renewables are pulling two directions, nationwide and local

Recently a study found that wind can serve as reliable baseload power. The key is to link wind farms together with a high-speed transmission grid. "This study implies that, if interconnected wind is used on …

The success of solar depends on storage

Storage helps the sun keep shining even on cloudy days

New project and technology announcements have kept solar energy in the news lately. But, as with wind, the issues of intermittency and the grid still lurk in the shadows. Some still argue that intermittency isn't a problem, or that it can be solved without storage. In a new piece in the Arizona Daily Star, reporter Tom Beal talks about those issues. As we've previously argued here, here, and here, energy storage has a big role to play in enabling solar and wind to compete with the big boys -- coal, gas, and nuclear. The engineers that actually operate the grid on a minute-to-minute, day-to-day basis know that intermittency is a technological problem that must be solved one way or another if solar and wind are to generate more than a token percentage of our electricity. Storage needs its own day in the sun, and now that sun is in the limelight, maybe storage will finally get some respect as well. Full piece below the fold:

'Mine's bigger'

Me on Hannity & Colmes

Here I am on Hannity & Colmes, 21 Dec. 2007. Mark Steyn was sitting in for Sean Hannity. The other guest is Chris Horner of CEI. There’s some satisfaction in taking shots at Horner and …

Multiple states will sue over EPA decision to not let California regulate vehicle emissions

Riled up about the U.S. EPA’s decision not to allow California to regulate vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions, Golden State Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared he will sue the agency “within the next three weeks.” At least …

Plan to regulate airline emissions moves forward in E.U.

A proposed law that would regulate emissions from airlines taking off from or landing in the European Union has been approved by environment ministers. The bill to include airlines in the E.U.’s carbon-trading scheme was …

More on the 'scientific' attacks on global warming

NYT’s Revkin gives Inhofe a pass

So Sen. James "global warming is a hoax" Inhofe (R-Okla.) issues a report in which he claims: Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. "Padded" would be an extremely generous description of this list of "prominent scientists." Some would use the word "laughable" (though not the N.Y. Times' Andy Revkin, see below). For instance, since when have economists, who are pervasive on this list, become scientists, and why should we care what they think about climate science? I'm not certain a dozen on the list would qualify as "prominent scientists," and many of those, like Freeman Dyson -- a theoretical physicist -- have no expertise in climate science whatsoever. I have previously debunked his spurious and uninformed claims, although I'm not sure why one has to debunk someone who seriously pushed the idea of creating a rocket ship powered by detonating nuclear bombs! Seriously. Even Ray Kurzweil, not a scientist but a brilliant inventor, is on the list. Why? Because he apparently told CNN and the Washington Post: These slides that Gore puts up are ludicrous, they don't account for anything like the technological progress we're going to experience ... None of the global warming discussions mention the word "nanotechnology." Yet nanotechnology will eliminate the need for fossil fuels within 20 years ... I think global warming is real but it has been modest thus far -- 1 degree f. in 100 years. It would be concern if that continued or accelerated for a long period of time, but that's not going to happen. And people say I'm a techno-optimist. So Kurzweil actually believes in climate science -- rather than the reverse, as Inhofe claims -- but thinks catastrophic global warming won't happen because of a techno-fix that stops emissions. If wishes were horses ... everyone would get trampled to death. In the real world, energy breakthroughs are very rare, as we've seen, and it's even rarer when they make a difference in under several decades. Then we have the likes of this from Inhofe's list:

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